Christian Churches of God
David and Goliath
(Edition 2.0 19950715-20000226)
This paper deals with the story of David and Goliath and develops the spiritual and prophetic significance of the activities surrounding the conflict. The underlying theme of the story cross-relates to the Messianic victory over the world systems. The background to the Philistine occupation of the Holy Land is given. The establishment of Israel in Canaan is developed and the details of the story of the removal of the Ark of the Covenant are also given in the build up to the battle and the establishment of the monarchy. The establishment in the line of David is the end result of the activities.
David and Goliath
Many people know the story of David and Goliath. It is one of the most oft repeated stories in the Bible and is often told to illustrate how the weak, but brave can overcome the strong, with the help of God. There is however, much more to the story than first appears. The treatment of this story goes back a long way before David took the battlefield with Goliath. A whole series of events were set in motion by God to culminate in that action, which was symbolic of a Messianic activity. The meaning of all of the things in the story of David and Goliath, and the background to the story will be explained. There is meaning behind every single thing that is said and done in the story, and behind all of the protagonists, both on the part of the Israelites and the Philistines.
There is an underlying theme through the story which cross relates to the Messianic victory over the world systems. Goliath of Gath was a champion of the Philistines. These Philistines were not native to Canaan and they did not develop as a nation within Canaan. At the end of the thirteenth century BCE they were dislodged from what is understood to be the area of the Aegean. They were displaced by a series of catastrophes which destroyed the Hittite civilisation in Turkey, and also the power of Mycenaens. Major Canaanite cities were also destroyed and Egypt was diminished in its power. The period was marked by anarchy on land and piracy at sea.
The Bible holds that the Philistines, or Philistim, came by way of Caphtor or Crete (Jer. 47:4; Amos 9:7; cf. Deut. 2:23). Part of the coast was thus called the Cretan Negeb or the Negeb of the Cherethites (1Sam. 30:14 see RSV). Cretans also are in parallelism with the Philistines (Ezek. 25:16; Zeph. 2:5). Those chapters have an ongoing prophetic relationship also. There is, however, no archaeological evidence of the Philistine occupation of Crete. All we have is that the Bible says that is where they came from. They obviously didn’t occupy Crete in any significant way. They didn’t leave a lot of archaeological evidence. It was obviously a transitory move. They were in fact the second wave of the Sea Peoples. There is a book written by Velikovsky called the Peoples of the Sea, which is quite important, and Velikovsky produces some interesting cross argument to scholars about the time frames involved. What is done here is to take the normal scholastic time frames based on the Egyptian chronologies through Manetho, simply to avoid controversy over something that is not important to this argument. The name Philistine is derived from the Egyptian form prst which is a name of one of the peoples of the sea. The Hebrew pelishti is an adjectival form derived from the territorial designation pelesheth. The Assyrian sources have both Pilisti and Palastu. There is no Semitic etymology for the name and it appears to be Indo-European. So the word Philistine (Pisisti), or Palastu (Palestine), is derived from the names of the Philistines. But the people there today, the Palestinians, are not the same people as the Philistines or the Palastu, who were there at the time of David. They are an Indo-European people who settled firstly in Egypt and later on the sea coast.
The Philistines settled on the sea coast in the region we know as the Gaza Strip and into the inland of Canaan. Here they came into contact with another group of recent arrivals, the Israelites. The cause of the crisis, which marked the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age, is still a matter of controversy.
The theories of regional wars are being challenged by those of natural catastrophes. So, scholars have been trying to argue about whether their regional wars have caused the movement, or whether they were natural catastrophes. Velikovsky is a natural catastrophist. He argues that an eruption of the Thera volcano caused the movement of these peoples and he relocates the time frames as well. The mystery is deepened by the absence of writing from this period, thus labelling the period at the beginning of the Iron Age, namely the twelfth to the eleventh centuries BCE, as the Dark Ages (not to be confused with the pre-medieval Dark Ages some 2,000 years later). We had, before the medieval times, what was called the Dark Ages in the centuries after the collapse of the Roman Empire in Europe. That is not the Dark Ages that these people refer to. They call the Dark Ages, in the Middle East, the eleventh before Christ. In 1995 excavations were undertaken by Prof. Trude Dothan with Prof. Seymour Gitin of the Albright Institute, in those areas in the Philistine cities. The city of Ekron was a small Canaanite city of 50 Dunams and this was destroyed around 1200 BCE and replaced by a well-fortified town of 200 Dunams.
Excavations have been carried out at Ashdod, Ekron and Ashkelon. Ashdod and Ekron show a well organised society of newcomers from an urban background establishing large and well planned cities on the ruins of smaller Canaanite cities (Abraham Rabinovich, Jerusalem Post, art. Nothing But a Name, June 17 1995, p. 8).
The other two Philistine cities in the Pentapolis are Gaza, whose ruins lie under today’s city, and Gat or Gath, believed to be the site of Tel es-Safi not far from Ekron. Adolphe Lods, who was a French Professor, notes that the Philistines were the sea people that Rameses III had succeeded in repulsing from the borders of Egypt in 1192 BCE (Israel, Hooke tr. Routledge & Keegan Paul, London, 1962, p. 348), or perhaps more accurately as the eighth year of Rameses III (c. 1188 BCE; Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 3, p. 791). They retained some of their customs. Their armour and weapons as described in 1Samuel 17:5-7 are similar to the peoples of Asia Minor (ibid.).
They adopted the customs of the Canaanites and their deities were genuine Semitic divinities: Dagon, the corn god; Atargatis-Derketo, the goddess of Ashkelon, a form of the ubiquitous Semitic Astarte (ibid., p. 349). A lot has been written about Dagon, as to whether he was symbolised by a fish, but Dagon was the corn god according to Lods. So, too, the worship of Astarte was there under Atargatis-Derketo. A Palestinian or Philistine Astarte is mentioned in an inscription discovered at Delos; Baal-Zebub “the lord of flies”, the god of Ekron. That was their pantheon or structure. Basically it was a Semitic system based on the Babylonian system. So the Philistines had adopted the Babylonian religious system. These Gods were based on the Babylonian system, and the Babylonians were Semites.
The details of this system are covered in the paper Purification and Circumcision (No. 251).
The modern religious system of the Sun cults even uses the name Easter in the worship of the system and keeps the festival and the statues of the goddess and the god. Tertullian says that Atargatis was the goddess of the Syrians. Macrobius says they called the Sun Hadad and the earth Atargatis. Hence ben Hadad means son of the Sun. The Talmud calls her Tar’atha. In Armenia she is Tharatha. She is simply the form of the Semitic goddess Ishatar-’Athtar or simply in the ancient Anglo Saxon Easter. Strabo and Hesychius both identify her with Athara and the Delos inscriptions call her Aphrodite (ERE ibid). Askelon, Karnaim and Delos were long devoted to Astarte. Known as Derketo at Askelon her lower half was a fish. This seems to be the origin of the mermaid. Lucian does not identify the Syrian deity at Hieropolis with the deity at Askelon seemingly on the grounds that the deity at Hieropolis had perfect human form and he called her Hera but admits that she may be identified with Rhea. There is little doubt they are one and the same deity. Fish was not eaten by the followers of both Atargatis and Astarte and the sex rites identify both goddess as the one and the same deity. The deity was distinguished by the locality and thus was locally distinctive in the minds of the common people just as she was as Ishtar in Assyria at both Nineveh and Arbela. The native name of Hierapolis is Mabog and means spring in the native Aramaic (cf. ERE ibid). Thus the association with water and springs also.
From 2Maccabees 12:26 Judas Maccabeus went against the Temple of Atergatis at Karnion in 164 BCE and killed 25,000 people. Paton concludes from the text in 1 Maccabees 5:43 that the cult of Atargatis flourished not only in Hieropolis and Askalon but also in Bashan. Inscriptions between Damascus and Banias at Kefr Hauwar indicates a temple was there and also a number of inscriptions at Delos, dating from shortly before the Christian era, identify her with Hadad and also identify her as Aphrodite (cf. ERE, vol. 2., p. 166). Thus she is the consort of Hadad, the sun, or Baal. As Rhea she castrated Attis who is also identified with her.
Paton also notes that Ovid writing in 17 CE tells how Dercetis was changed into a fish in Palestine. Germanicus, in 19 CE, calls her the Syrian goddess Derceto and Atargatis and adds the new information that she was changed into a fish at Bambyce the Greek name for Hieropolis. Strabo writing in 24 CE says
‘Artargate (or Artagate in some MSS) the Syrians call Arthara, but Ctesias calls her Derketo. Here Atargatis is identified with ‘Athar (= Athtar, Ashtart, Astarte), in the same manner with which she is identified with Aphrodite in the Delos inscriptions (ERE ibid.).
Cornutis (ca. 68 CE) records that fish and doves were sacred to Atargatis goddess of the Syrians. This is doubtless the real origin of the fish symbol in Rome in the first century [and the probable origin of the bishop’s mitre, which resembles the fish]. Christians would never have made an object that was an idol worshipped in Palestine for centuries before and during the time of Christ the symbol of their faith. Pliny in 79 CE says that Ceto is worshipped at Joppa. Both Pliny and Strabo state the skeleton of a sea monster was displayed at Joppa. Ceto is perhaps to be regarded as the truncated form of Derceto but Paton says this is uncertain (ERE ibid.). Pliny identifies Atargatis as Derceto and says that she was worshipped at Hieropolis or Bambyce or Mabog. Plutarch says there was a pond of sacred fish at Hieropolis and says that this goddess worshipped there is identified with Aphrodite and Hera or the goddess who produces out of moisture the seeds of all things (ERE, ibid.). The most extensive account was given by Lucian writing ca 200 CE, and as an eye witness, being himself a Syrian. As we have noted he prefers to identify her as Hera but Paton says there is no doubt we are dealing with Atargatis (ERE, ibid.). Thus the cult of Atargatis, Ishtar, or Astarte, Ashtaroth or Easter is the basis of the rites condemned in the Bible involving these various aspects. The purification aspects involve the removal from this system of worship. It dates back to the system of the Golden Calf under various names (cf. the papers The Golden Calf (No. 222)) and (Purification and Circumcision (No. 251)).
(Requoted from W.E. Cox The Pinata (No. 276) Christian Churches of God, 1999.)
Their leaders were termed seren which is only used in Hebrew in connection with the Philistines. It was evidently a word of their own language akin to the Greek turranos. The Syriac Bible renders it truno and the Targum turono (ibid.). The five cities constituted a federation. For example, the prince of Gath is sometimes styled king but only King of Gath, and not of the Philistines. They didn’t have an overall king. There were five lords of the Philistines. The port of Dor belonged to the allies of the Philistines, the Zekal, another “sea-people”. They were not of the same group. The Philistines reached their zenith strangely enough with the conquest by the Assyrians under Sennacharib in 701 BCE. They really didn’t reach the height of their power until they were finally assimilated by the Assyrians. They became flourishing vassal city-states within the Assyrian imperial economic system, because they were great adaptors. They syncretised their culture and adapted and adopted cultural affinities. In the same way the Babylonian mystery religion adopts and adapts. That was ultimately to cause their demise, because they didn’t have a specific cultural system, which made them distinct. These people adopted the Babylonian religious system and they then fitted in to the Assyrian economic system.
Ultimately, they were destroyed by the Babylonians because they had become flourishing vassal city-states within the Assyrian system. They were thus destroyed when the Babylonians destroyed the Assyrians, because they had adapted too well into the Assyrian system. They were too well identified with the Assyrians. They are last heard of in a list of exiles which was compiled by regions. Ekron had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 603 BCE. The list found in the Babylonian archives dating from the fifth century BCE at Nippur refers to the exiles of Is-qal-lu-nu (Ashkelon) and Hazatu (Gaza). Gitin notes that this record marks the disappearance of the Philistines from the pages of history (see Rabinovich, ibid.). Judah, Levi and part of the tribes returned from the Babylonian exile, the Philistines did not. Their cultural assimilation into the Assyrian had been so total that they could not survive as a cultural identity, according to Gitin. Their ethnically related Aegean counterparts on Cyprus after initially settling on older cities moved to new locations and established a distinct culture which allowed them to survive. So the Aegean civilisation, akin to the Philistines, which settled on Cyprus, was able to move into new locations and they survived because they then established their own distinct culture. This is the only reason they survived. The lessons we have to learn from the Philistines however are in their role as the opposing forces against Israel which created the external threats large enough to force Israel to unite as a nation under Saul. The defeat at Ebenezer was the catalyst. The process however was over an extended period.
So what happened is that God decided to establish Israel in the Promised Land. A series of catastrophes were set off and Israel is taken out of Egypt. The adversary had decided to place his own people to take over, to stop the Israelites from occupying Canaan or Israel; in other words from taking up the promise. So the peoples of the sea, the Philistines, were then placed in Israel to try to consolidate and stop the establishment of Israel as a nation. If they had done that, they would have been able to ensure the Babylonian system was then supreme over the Israelites, and the religion we have would not have supplanted or been able to be established. The Babylonian system would have taken it over much earlier. That war of the Babylonian system against the biblical system, the Judeo-Christian system, is still under way and that war is fought out in the last days. The Babylonian system is the major religious system of this planet right now. The Philistines represented the Babylonian system. That war is the war that is being fought finally now, in the last days.
The oppression of Israel by the Philistines saw the tribes of Dan and Judah first to succumb to their attacks (e.g. Judg. 16:1-3). They later moved against Ephraim and Benjamin which they conquered. Israel was thus enslaved. Israel, probably Joseph, rebelled and the Philistines attacked them. God had been working with Israel over this period. Refer back to the papers Samson and the Judges (No. 73), and Gideon's Force and the Last Days (No. 22), where we’ll see how God was dealing with Israel over that period of the Canaanites and the Philistines. Every time they lapsed into sin God allowed them to be broken, and then when they turned to Him they were re-established. In this case He moved significantly against the Philistines to establish Israel over a set period. He set about raising up a faithful priest (1Sam. 2:35) who would do everything according to the will and mind of God. The priesthood would then beg for sustenance from him (NB).
1Samuel 2:35-36 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever. 36 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a piece of bread.
1Samuel 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. (KJV)
There is a Messianic application to this text. It says there is a faithful priest raised up that will do according to that which is in God’s heart and mind. He is going to build him a sure house and he will walk before his anointed forever. Now Samuel died!
There is a priest raised to walk before the Lord forever, before the anointed, and the anointed, is Messiah. So there is a priest raised to walk before Messiah, forever. 1Samuel 2:36 is a prophecy to the priesthood of Israel because the priesthood is profaned and it has to beg for sustenance. A very powerful prophecy!
Samuel was established as a prophet and the Lord let none of his words fail.
1Samuel 3:19-21 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.
Yet Samuel assembled Israel at Shiloh based upon what he understood to be the will of God. Remember, Jerusalem was not the headquarters, nor was it at Hebron. The Tabernacle of God was at Shiloh.
21 And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
1Samuel 4:1-11 And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek. 2 And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men.
Here we have Israel obeying a prophet of God yet falling by the sword. The reaction to this adversity was to rely on the physical presence of the Ark of the Covenant. God was establishing Israel and saying to them ‘you are not right in my sight; you are not prepared’. He is then setting up the conditions where He is going to consolidate Israel, because every man at this stage was doing what was right in his own eyes and they were in different groups. They were under tribes and there was no central administration. God was about to put them under a central administration. They saw that they had failed, so they then decided ‘how can we win?’ ‘I know, God has put us here, let’s go and get the Ark of the Covenant and we’ll put the Ark before us in battle’. Because they had the physical presence of the Ark they thought that was enough. They did not appreciate that it was a symbol of God’s law, nature and will. Like the Jews today they do not see the spiritual intent of the relationship with God. There is a spiritual intent to all of it.
3 And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. 4 So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
What God is doing here is that He is taking out the Ark from the Tabernacle and He is saying: “I am going to make my presence noted amongst Israel”. At that time the sons of Eli (Hophni and Phinehas) were corrupt. The priesthood was corrupted entirely under Eli. Hophni and Phinehas thought nothing of committing adultery; sleeping with women at the temple. They took bribes. They perverted judgment on the bribe and Eli did not correct them. Samuel saw the iniquity of the priesthood under Eli. He saw the iniquity of Hophni and Phinehas and we will see that Samuel did the same thing. Samuel was a prophet of God but he did not correct the errors in his own children that he saw under Eli with Hophni and Phinehas. That is a common mistake. Leaders of churches of the elect can, in fact, have their own families go astray and their successors can see that and still allow their own children to do the same. This is what happened with Eli, and this is what happened with Samuel. Because of this, the rulership was taken entirely from the priesthood. The rulership of Israel was taken from the judges and the priesthood, and given to the monarchy; into the hands of the administration under a king. So God took Hophni and Phinehas with the Ark of the Covenant out of Shiloh, and put them in a position where they could be killed because they were profaned and unfit to shepherd the Ark. This was overlooked.
5 And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. 6 And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp. 7 And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. 8 Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. 9 Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight. 10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. 11 And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain. (KJV)
The Ark had the opposite effect. The Philistines fought harder because they were under threat. Thirty thousand of Israel fell as well as the sons of Eli. God slew these priests and handed the Ark of the Covenant into the hands of the Philistines. This was done specifically at the hand of his anointed prophet. Why? The answer was that Israel was unfit to stand before God in the form that it existed. Moreover God had a job for Israel to do and it could not be done in that form of its organisation. So God had to tear it down and in doing that He had to destroy the priesthood as well. He dragged Hophni and Phinehas into the battle, and He slaughtered them and 30,000 men with them.
The removal of the Ark of God into the hands of the Philistines was to show to the Philistines also that they were worshipping impotent idols. The idol of Dagon was made to prostrate itself before the Ark (1Sam. 5:3-5). It fell over before the Ark and hit its head on the threshold. Its head broke off and the palms of its hands broke off also. There is a reason for this. This removal of the head and hands is related to the concept of the sealing of the people with the system of their god. You are sealed on the forehead and hands by your thoughts involved in this religious system and by the means of carrying out that system in its work and its social activities. So the socio-economic organisation of the system is symbolised by the hands, and the mental attitudes of the people are symbolised by the forehead. That is why the sealing of a system is on the forehead and on the hands. The people were also smitten with emerods (1Sam. 5:6; 6:4). Emerods are noted from Deuteronomy 28:27 as being one of the curses and the plagues of Egypt. We understand them to be haemorrhoids, or piles. The Philistines had many killed of their people when they had the Ark of the Covenant and they gave five golden emerods and five golden mice, one for each of the five lords of the Philistines, as votive offerings with the Ark on its return after seven months (1Sam. 6:1-14). They had it there for seven months and it was nothing but trouble. The Lord gave witness through this action both to Israel and to the Philistines.
Through this emergency, God would establish a central government and the throne which Messiah would one day inherit. He was setting up a system for the inheritance of the Messiah. Thus the events surrounding the establishment of the monarchy are also relevant to its purpose.
Firstly, the monarchy was established in the line of Saul of Benjamin. Benjamin was the least of the tribes and indeed had almost been wiped out for immorality on a previous occasion (Judg. 20 & 21). The things that Benjamin was wiped out for in Israel are worth noting. Read Judges 20 and 21 and you’ll see what Benjamin was wiped out for, almost to the man (there were only 600 men left in Benjamin). They were given the women of other tribes to marry, so that Benjamin would not be entirely wiped out. But the sin they were wiped out for happens on a daily basis in our people. How much longer do you think God will stay His anger against the tribes of Israel when He almost did not spare Benjamin for one offence?
The monarchy was established by God through the prophet Samuel. It should be noted that Samuel did not discipline his children as Eli had failed with Hophni and Phinehas before him. Some psychologists would argue that Samuel was raised in Eli’s house, in the temple, so he thought that was the normal way of raising his children. That is true. If we see them raised that way with no other example, we would think that is the way of doing it. Samuel should have seen the results of Hophni and Phinehas, but he raised his own children the same way.
1Samuel 8:1-22 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. 3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
Comment: They didn’t think that God would intervene and raise up another prophet to replace the sons. They thought they were going to be stuck with Joel and Abiah the sons of Samuel. They did not realise that God had taken Hophni and Phinehas out and put them in a battlefield, when they had no intention of going to war, and slaughtered them. They didn’t have the courage, or the faith, to believe that God would remove Joel and Abiah as he had removed Hophni and Phinehas. They wanted to make their own King and you will find that the kingdom was then established, but God allowed that to happen for a different reason. God allowed it to happen so that the kingship could be established, and the throne was established for Messiah.
8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. 10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
Comment: They won’t be looking after your horses; they won’t be looking after your land; they won’t be threshing your crops; they’ll be doing the king’s work; they’ll be reaping his harvests. They won’t be making delicate things in your kitchen; they will be making them in the king’s kitchen.
14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants
Comment: Your tithe is not going into the temple now, it is going into the king’s administration, and he will then use it for his own purpose. So, in other words, taxation will increase.
16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. 19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
Comment: They wanted somebody out there like the Philistines; somebody big and strong; head and shoulders over them all, that they could say ‘you go out and fight him in single handed combat’, because in those days battles were often decided by single combat. So the armies let the champions fight it out and that way not as many people had to die. They wanted a king that could go out and fight for them and then they would know what they were doing.
21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. 22 And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city. (KJV)
What the Lord is doing here is first establishing in the mind of Israel what a king under the wrong spiritual system is like. He is saying, ‘this is what a king without the capacity to utilise the Holy Spirit will do. This is what you are going to have to face’. In the same way that He had established the judges and the system under the prophets before that. This process was to show the weakness of the system of government. He would then develop that system through David to Messiah.
Israel was to go into captivity and be separated from Judah; therefore Messiah had to be of Judah under the Roman yoke in the first century in order that the Church might be established as a later phase. So, He first established it in Benjamin and the kingship could have remained in Benjamin because part of Benjamin remained in Judah. But he established it in Judah. He moved it from Benjamin to Judah.
God sent Saul to Samuel.
1Samuel 9:15-21 Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying, 16 To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.
They were under bondage and they were crying out to the Lord and that is why He acted, because they had turned to the Lord.
17 And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people. 18 Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer's house is. 19 And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to day, and to morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart. 20 And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father's house? 21 And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me? (KJV)
God decided to raise a king up from the least of the clans, of the smallest tribe of Israel. Saul was honoured but he did not know why and he was puzzled as to why he was being honoured.
1Samuel 10:1-12 Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance? 2 When thou art departed from me to day, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel's sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son? 3 Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine: 4 And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands. 5 After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: 6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man. 7 And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee. 8 And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do.
So he had to wait for seven days. There is a whole host of symbolism in this text. You are looking at offerings and bread and the giving to the king according to the law. Now the Bible says that every man who would be ruler in Israel is to make a record of all of the texts of the law so that when he is king he does not corrupt the law. Every king is to make his own copy of the law to prepare himself to rule Israel. That is a requirement of every leader of the people of Israel - to prepare himself by studying the law. This sequence here is that the two breads of the law, the two loaves, are given to Saul by the prophets. This symbolises the giving of the law and the giving of the understanding of the Bible to Saul as king. The spirit of the law, then came upon the king to fulfil his role as leader. This was to show that under the monarchy, the leadership and the Holy Spirit would be placed upon the king, as it was finally with David. Now he had to wait seven days, and the seven days saw him under great duress.
9 And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? 12 And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets? (KJV)
What they are saying is ‘What spirit are they of?’
Samuel called the people together at Mizpeh and explained the significance of the kingship to the people.
1Samuel 10:17-27 And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh; 18 And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you: 19 And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands. 20 And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. 21 When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found. 22 Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. 23 And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. 24 And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king. 25 Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. 26 And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. 27 But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace. (KJV)
Obviously, in this text, they were drawing lots to determine the family from whom the king would come. They couldn’t find Saul, so the Lord told them where to look for him. He obviously was frightened. It’s not a very auspicious start when the king is found hiding, even though he was told he was going to be king.
God had set men with Saul. This is depicted as touching their hearts. Saul had attempted to avoid the responsibility at first. God had given Israel a king that appeared to be of regal proportions from outward appearances, however, God knew what he would do from the heart. His successor was markedly different. Nevertheless, God established Saul as king. When Samuel was old he charged Israel with their responsibilities towards the king.
1Samuel 12:13-25 Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you. 14 If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God: 15 But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers. 16 Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes. 17 Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king. 18 So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. 19 And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king. 20 And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; 21 And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. 22 For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. 23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: 24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. 25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king. (KJV)
The purpose of this text is to show the people that they are responsible to God and that if the king follows after idols and false religion, then under no circumstances is anyone absolved from following God. They are not allowed to follow a leader of any description who does not follow after their God. That is clear. It is laid down here that if they do wickedly, both they and the king will be consumed. If the king does wickedly and they do not, they will not be consumed like the king. But each man is directly responsible to God and that is the purpose of that text. It shows quite clearly that no man is removed from his responsibilities towards God, by any man in charge of him or her.
Saul was given specific tasks and also instruction through the prophet. His disobedience was to cost him the kingship. This aspect of the forfeiture involved in the sacrifice at Michmash is not fully understood.
1Samuel 13:1-15 Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, 2 Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. 3 And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear. 4 And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal. 5 And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Bethaven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. 7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
This great army came out against them. The Philistines realised that they had to deal with this threat, because Israel was unified under a king and that had much greater potential for the destruction of the Philistines, than previously Israel held. They were a disorganised group of tribes up until then. With the king they had set themselves to fight against the Philistines and their overlordship.
8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. 9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. 10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. 11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; 12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. 13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee. 15 And Samuel arose, and gat him up from Gilgal unto Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men. (KJV)
The battle had been set. Samuel had said that he would come at a specific time. Saul thought that he had delayed his coming. Accordingly he then presumed to usurp the functions of the prophet. Samuel had not yet ceased to judge in Israel, so the responsibilities had not entirely passed to the kingship. Samuel still exercised his power as a prophet. What had happened in fact is that Saul only thought that Samuel was late. Saul had miscalculated the time. This has a relationship to the last days and the coming of Messiah, when they say ‘My Lord has delayed his coming’. It also shows the requirement for implicit obedience to the lawful authority of God through his prophet. The test of prophets of God is that they speak according to the law and the testimony (Isa. 8:20). If they do not speak according to the law and the testimony there is no light in them, or in them there is no dawn; no day star; no morning star. Saul’s kingship was removed because he did not obey his predecessor who had anointed him. He was removed and God set up another. In this case it was done through the same prophet who had not as yet died.
The story shows how Saul also sinned by numbering the armies of the living God. David also was to commit this sin. Because of David’s sin 70,000 fell. This relates also to the last days. The counting of these seven days relates to the time frames. Saul began counting a day too early. He counted part days. Therefore, he came to the day when Samuel should have been there and Samuel wasn’t, because he was one day too early. He arrived on the sixth day instead of the seventh day. That is something for us to keep in mind.
God sent another instruction to Saul via Samuel relating to the Amalekites which has important aspects later and also as we’ll see from the Book of Esther.
1Samuel 15:1-23 Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. 2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. 4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley. 6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly. 10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, 11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. 12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. 13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. 14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? 15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. 16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. 17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? 18 And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. 19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD? 20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. 22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (KJV)
Their reasoning was that if they took all these sheep from the Amalekites they wouldn’t have to take ten percent of the their own flock. The law was quite clear that you took the booty of the spoil and you tithed on them as well, and you gave it to the people. But that’s not what God told them to do. He didn’t want the Amalekite flocks. We don’t know what the reason was. They might have been diseased and it might have actually introduced diseases into the flocks of the children of Israel. It might have been simply for acceptability of the sacrifices. We don’t know and we are not told. But He wanted everything destroyed and he wanted Agag of the Amalekites destroyed also, because the Agagites, the sons of Agag, were later to threaten the entire existence of the Jewish people.
The lesson here is that the kingship of the elect is predicated upon obedience. If you want to be one of the kings of the last days, if you want to be a king and a priest, then you have to be obedient. The whole structure is one of obedience. God doesn’t want show ponies; he wants obedient people and he wants people who will work. The throne of Israel was obtained by Messiah through obedience (Phil. 2:6). Christ didn’t try and grasp equality with God, he was obedient unto death. The elect are given the law and testimony to test their obedience to the commandments, even unto death, and they are killed for the keeping of the commandments; the first, the second, and the third, before the fourth commandment.
The important thing here was that the obedience that God wanted was for long term results. The people were told to destroy even the children, even the babies of the Amalekites. All of them were to be killed. That is an extraordinary text. People have said ‘what sort of a God would do that?’ That was the order. The Amalekites were to threaten the destruction of Judah at a later stage. Agag’s descendent Haman is the prime instigator in the book of Esther (see Commentary on Esther (No. 63)). This threat to the safety of Israel also relates to the last days. This section refers to the kingship under Messiah as we see from the development of the text.
1Samuel 15:24-29 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD. 26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. 27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. 28 And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. 29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent. (KJV)
Quite simply, the ordination and the anointment of the leader of God’s people are dependent upon faith and dependent upon obedience to God. Any leader of God’s people who is not faithful and obedient to the law forfeits his right to rule. That is the lesson that comes out of this text. Samuel killed Agag with his own hands and then cut off all contact with Saul until the day of his death (1Sam. 15:35) but did not cease to mourn for him nor to pray. That is the case with us too. We are not to cease to mourn or to pray for the leaders of our people even though they are in sin.
God then charged Samuel with anointing David. We then go into the establishment of the replacement kingship.
1Samuel 16:1-7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. 2 And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD. 3 And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee. 4 And Samuel did that which the LORD spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably? 5 And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the LORD: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. 6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD'S anointed is before him. 7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (KJV)
Saul was head and shoulders over Israel, but Saul was wrong. So God saw the heart and he knew what had to be done.
1Samuel 16:10-23 Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these. 11 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. 12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
When he was anointed the spirit of the Lord came upon him and he was then able to perform great deeds in the spirit even though he was not king. That is also a lesson for the elect. All of us are kings; all of us are anointed from baptism and having hands laid on us. All of us can perform deeds in the spirit. The spirit of the Lord is upon all of us. Just remember that.
14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.
An evil spirit was allowed because the Holy Spirit had departed, and the demons were allowed to trouble Saul because he had not set himself apart for God.
15 And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. 16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. 17 And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. 18 Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him. 19 Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep. 20 And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul. 21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. 22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight. 23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. (KJV)
David had power through the Holy Spirit over the demons, the same way we have power over the demons through the Holy Spirit. That was the message of that text.
David was anointed as the heir apparent and placed in the court of the king in the lowliest position so that he might learn the art of war and peace. He was given the spirit of the Lord so that he could perform mighty deeds. David was then established as a leader in Israel by spectacular circumstance.
1Samuel 17:1-11 Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. 3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. 4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. 6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. 7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him. 8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. 9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. 10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. 11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid. (KJV)
This fellow was about ten foot tall, with enormous weapons. It is very difficult to stand against weapons which develop that sort of energy when thrust at you. They were frightened. The symbolism of Goliath of Gath is as the empirical system of the Babylonian system and its heirs in Daniel chapter 2. This is another example of this mighty beast with a great head. That system deals with the sequence of the empires and the destruction by Messiah in the final stages of the empire of the ten kings of the last days, when the rock that is Messiah strikes them on the feet. That’s Daniel chapter 2. In this case Goliath is not struck on the feet. He is struck right between the eyes, right in the forehead, where the seals of the systems are made. Goliath deals with the spiritual system and thus the head remains the central element of the story. The story takes up in 1Samuel 17:12 as though David had not been with Saul and indeed the stories may reflect an interrelated process. We have one sequence where it establishes how the spirit was taken from Saul and given to David. When David received it, it was taken out of Saul and Saul was troubled, and David then became mighty and yet was placed as Saul’s armour bearer. He became his right hand man. That sequence develops.
David came to the battlefield to deliver an ephah of corn and ten loaves to his brothers.
1Samuel 17:17-54 And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren; 18 And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge. 19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20 And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle. 21 For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. 22 And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren. 23 And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. 24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. 25 And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel. 26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? 27 And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him. 28 And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. 29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? 30 And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner. 31 And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him. 32 And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
David was very intelligent and the Holy Spirit was with him and he saw the effect this giant was having on the army. They were losing heart daily because nobody would take him on. That was the problem and David knew that something had to be done soon. That’s also the problem with us, because we do not fight the system; because we do not speak the word of the Lord fearlessly. Because we are outnumbered in the millions, our people lose heart because they are in the minority. We must speak fearlessly even though we are small, because we fight for the armies of the living God and they do not. It doesn’t matter how small we are, we cannot be fainthearted about what we do. That’s a lesson.
33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. 34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
David had a purpose and he understood the purpose of God. He understood through the Holy Spirit that nothing can prevail against the armies of the living God and nothing will.
37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. 38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
A requirement of battle is to test fire your weapons before you go out. David hadn’t tested any of his armour. He had never worn it at all. There is no sense going to fight with something you are not familiar with. Don’t go and fight with weapons you don’t know anything about. God has given us His armour and you can read about the armour in the New Testament. The armour of the Lord is tested and proven. David took off the weapons he had been given and he took his staff in his hand and he chose five smooth stones out of the brook and he put them in a shepherd’s bag. Now this is important. David did not choose to fight the armies of the Philistines, and the champions of the Philistines. He did not choose to fight with the conventional weapons of this world. The Babylonian system was not going to be taken over by conventional weaponry and the systems of this world. David used something else. He took his staff in his hand and five smooth stones, which he took out of the brook. The symbolism is quite simple and clear. The staff of David is the rulership of Messiah and the power conferred upon him through the Holy Spirit. The five smooth stones of the brook are the five churches of God which make it into the last days, being selected through the living waters of the Holy Spirit. The shepherd’s bag is the protective power of Messiah. The reason there are only five stones is because two of the churches of God do not make it into the Kingdom. The Sardis and the Loadicean churches are thrown out of the Kingdom.
40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. 41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. 42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. 43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
Immediately he arrayed his gods against the Holy Spirit from the living God, which is exactly what this battle is all about.
44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. 45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
Now that’s pretty clear; that God has sent David with a purpose and David is speaking in the Holy Spirit. David is speaking to a person who relies on physical strength and physical weapons. Our weapons are not physical weapons and our strength is in the Holy Spirit. Our weapons have strength to bring down fortresses and that is the weapon of the last days. That is the battle of the last days.
46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.
This is a boy with no weapons, talking to a ten foot well armed giant, with an armour bearer, or shield bearer, who was capable of killing David himself. So he went out against two men. One was ten foot tall and well armed.
Here we are looking at a number of problems. The first is that we are dealing with the armaments of David. He was not equipped with Saul’s armour because the weapons of our warfare are not the same as those of this world. Messiah was not exposed to them. David came in the name of the armies of the living God. The destruction of the power of the nations is the same as that of the last days. The Philistim being derived from the Pereset or sea peoples is also a concept related to the Kittim of the last days. The Kittim were the adversaries listed in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Israel in the first century saw these people as coming from over the seas in ships, the sea people. The giants were also associated with the Nephilim who were the product of the fallen host (see the paper The Nephilim (No. 154)). Goliath of Gath was a giant and Israel in the first century understood these giants to be descendants of the Nephilim. They represented the fallen system; the created system of the demons. Thus that system would be replaced by the actions of the new king, the Messiah. The five stones in the shepherd’s bag are the five churches who partake of the first resurrection. The Sardis and Laodicean churches do not partake of the first resurrection as whole entities. Those Churches have only individuals in that category. The Sardis Church is dead and the Laodicean is spewed out of God’s mouth. Only individuals of those two make it into the Kingdom of God.
Goliath is killed with one stone. We see that from the sequence of the Churches, it necessarily must be the last. However, the first angel’s message is an ongoing process, which culminates in the power of the last days. The end result of that process is the destruction of the false religious system of Babylon as we see from the subsequent angel’s message (Rev. 14:6-12).
Revelation 14:6-12 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. 12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (KJV)
Directly from the first angel’s message will proceed the fall of Babylon as a stone from the sling of the king of Israel.
The purpose of this battle between David and Goliath was so that the armies of God would know that the Lord saves not by might nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord of Hosts (Zech. 4:6).
Yet in spite of this statement, David was to later commit the sin of numbering Israel (2Sam. 24:1 ff.; 1Chron. 21:1 ff.). This sin was the cause of the death of 70,000 men of Israel. The sin of numbering the armies of the Lord is the primary sin of administration of the last days. It is not only the nation that is preoccupied with military force. The Churches of God in the last days have numbered the armies of God until the process is an obscenity in the language of our people - if we go back into the concept of the destruction of the host. Here, David has relied on God. He has taken on Goliath and he said he is going to destroy Goliath. His faith is great here and he does in fact destroy him. But later in his old age he started to rely on numbers like Napoleon: God is on the side of the big battalions; or Stalin: How many divisions has the Pope got? This numbering of the Churches of God in the last days is of the same mentality. This preoccupation with numbers, with figures, with so called ‘fruits’, is an obscenity in the eyes of God. The process has led to the preoccupation with people on seats and not teaching; not placing people in the body and not preparing them for their tasks. As a result those people will forfeit their place in the Kingdom of God. Seventy thousand people will die and face the second resurrection because of that failure. The remainder will face sifting as wheat. That process is explained in the paper Measuring the Temple (No. 137). It is a very long and involved topic.
48And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth
The same way that the god of the Philistines had fallen, so too did their champion. The seal of God is between the eyes, and this stone, this message of the living God, was to strike their system where they were sealed, in the name of their god. And it killed their champion and he fell upon his face.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
That is what happens in the last days. We will not need a sword and we will destroy the armies of the god of this world. We will destroy millions upon millions in the last days and there will be no sword in our hands.
51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. 52 And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. 53 And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent. (KJV)
There are very significant concepts here. The head of this system was removed with its own sword. In the same way Messiah will bring down to the valley of decision, all of the armies of the world in the last days, and will kill them with their own weapons. All of these nations, one after the other, will be brought down. All of their armies will be brought down and destroyed.
Note the head is brought to Jerusalem but the armour is placed in David’s tent. Jerusalem was not yet the city of Saul. Indeed the Ark was at Shiloh and David would place it at Hebron before finally both tabernacle and rulership would come together at Jerusalem. When David took Goliath’s head to Jerusalem, he was looking forward into the future, to the Messianic advent, when the head of the Babylonian system would be removed and the governing structure, the religious system would be replaced by Messiah and each head would be taken to Jerusalem. The system would rule from Jerusalem. The armour was placed in his tent, in the same way that the spears and weapons that are gathered from the battles of Armageddon. All of these things will be taken and stacked. The comment is that the materials which are gathered will last Israel for seven years. There will be enough physical resources out of the armies, as they are brought down, to keep Israel going for the entire Millennium.
The structure therefore shows you that this is not just a story about a boy killing a ten foot giant with a slingstone. This is a story of Messiah. It is a story of the kingship being set up in the hands of the living God and that these systems, and the weapons of this world, and the means of warfare that Satan has taught our people to use, will be removed. It will be their weapons that Satan has taught our people to use, that will ultimately destroy his system, and place our people under Messiah at Jerusalem. The placement of the head at Jerusalem was to indicate that the government and the religious system would be at Jerusalem.
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